By G.A.Ponsonby
The Scottish Government has reacted to claims in the Scottish media that a ‘deal’ was agreed with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to release the dying prisoner, by saying they are based on “third hand hearsay”.

The media claims were dismissed as "untrue" by Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill who insisted that no deal was done.

The reports, which originated in the Herald newspaper, and have been widely reported by BBC Scotland and other outlets are based on a new book published today that contains a statement from the dying Libyan who says he was advised to drop his appeal by a Libyan official.

In the book, Mr Megrahi tells how he was encouraged by the Libyan Minister to drop his appeal on the basis of a private conversation the official claims to have held with Kenny MacAskill.

Mr Megrahi’s account of a meeting between himself and one of Gaddafi’s trusted officials has led to headlines and broadcasts alleging a direct agreement between the dying Libyan and the Justice Secretary.

The Scotsman newspaper claimed “Kenny MacAskill advised Megrahi to drop appeal” whilst the Herald article is headlined: ‘Megrahi: how MacAskill linked my release to dropping my appeal’.

BBC Scotland has had regular radio bulletins with several presenters saying that Mr Megrahi claims he was urged by Mr MacAskill himself to drop the appeal.  

On Radio Scotland, presenter Mhari Stewart reported: “Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man found guilty of the 1988 atrocity, claims he was urged by the Scottish Government to drop an appeal against his conviction.”

The claims also featured prominetly on BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland and have prompted calls from Labour, Conservatives and the Lib Dems for an emergency statement from Mr MacAskill.

However, the actual passage on which the media claims are based makes no mention of any deal or conversation between Mr Megrahi and Kenny MacAskill.  Instead it describes a conversation the Libyan prisoner had with a member of Gadaffi’s official Ministerial team - Abdel Ati Al-Obeidi.

In the book, ‘Megrahi: You Are My Jury’, author John Ashton quotes Mr Megrahi:

"On 10 August (2009), MacAskill and his senior civil servants met a delegation of Libyan officials, including Minister [Abdel Ati] Al-Obeidi.  By this time I was desperate.

"After the meeting the Libyan delegation came to the prison to visit me.  Obeidi said that, towards the end of the meeting, MacAskill had asked to speak to him in private.  Once the others had withdrawn, MacAskill told him it would be easier for him to grant compassionate release if I dropped my appeal.  He [MacAskill] said he was not demanding that I do so, but the message seemed to me to be clear.  I was legally entitled to continue the appeal, but I could not risk doing so.  It meant abandoning my quest for justice."

Responding to the media claims, Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill described them as “not true”.

“It’s not true, this is third hand hearsay" said Mr MacAskill who added:

“It was always a decision for Mr al-Megrahi whether he maintained or abandoned his appeal.  The decision I made was not predicated in any case on that, but that’s a matter for him and his legal team.”

The dropping of the appeal by the Libyan who has always protested his innocence has always been a source of great speculation.

Mr MacAskill visited Megrahi in Greenock Prison as part of his application for release through the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) negotiated between Tony Blair and Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi two years earlier in the notorious deal in the desert.

It was claimed that Mr Megrahi’s appeal was being stonewalled by the Crown who were accused of dragging out the process in the knowledge that Megrahi was dying.  Any release under the PTA required that an appeal be dropped.

However compassionate release required no such dropping of the appeal and this was the eventual route by which Mr Megrahi obtained his return to Libya.

The reporting of a ‘deal’ by the Scottish media will be viewed by some as an attempt at diverting attention from new and very damning evidence suggesting Mr Megrahi had nothing whatsoever to do with the downing of Pan-Am 103.

The trial verdict, long thought an affront to justice, was the subject of a review by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) who found compelling evidence that a miscarriage may have occurred.  This included substantial payments by the American Justice Department to the prosecution’s main witness Tony Gaucci.

Mr Ashton’s book contains additional evidence not uncovered by the SCCRC including a fragment of a circuit board found at Lockerbie, which was 100% covered in tin, which did not match the timers sent to Libya which contained a mixture of tin and lead. 

Mr Ashton alleges that the Crown's forensic expert at trial, Allen Feraday, was aware of the disparity but failed to disclose it.

The release of Mr Megrahi in 2009 was one of the most controversial decisions the Scottish Parliament had ever witnessed.

With the eyes of the world upon him, Kenny MacAskill announced that he was releasing the dying Megrahi on compassionate grounds after medical advice suggested a prognosis of three months.

The event was politicised to the extent that media reports began to be corrupted and an avalanche of misinformation was put into the public domain by print and broadcast media alike.

Labour’s then leader Iain Gray insisted that Megrahi ought to have been kept in prison to die, he also cast doubt on the medical evidence on which the decision to release the Libyan was based, calling it flawed.  Gray’s Justice Spokesman Richard Baker urged American Senators to join him in demanding medical records be revealed.

In September 2010, BBC Scotland’s Raymond Buchanan, in a news item showing Megrahi’s return to Libya, said: “It was said that he was likely to die within three months, this is the moment more than a year ago Abdelbasset Al Megrahi returned home.  But does this scene also show something else; proof the Libyan wasn’t as sick as we’d been told?”

Almost immediately, the BBC began a campaign of misinformation against the SNP Government.  In one infamous broadcast on the night of Megrahi’s release, senior BBC Scotland reporter Glenn Campbell described Kenny MacAskill as “the toast of Tripoli” – Campbell went on to win an award for his handling of the coverage.

Last year Wikileaks exposed the duplicity within the Labour party when secret documents revealed that the Labour Government had been actively pushing for the release of Megrahi in return for deals on energy. 

The documents showed Labour Ministers, including Jim Murphy, were included in communications.  Other documents described how Whitehall was actively advising the Libyan’s on the relevant areas of Scots Law in an effort at facilitating Megrahi's release.

Further documents revealed that the Labour Government had agreed to facilitate communications in order to allow the Americans to put pressure on the Scottish Government to release Megrahi.

Read more:


Newsnet Scotland comment - Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi was convicted on evidence that many feel would have been laughed out of any normal court; he was tried by a panel of judges and not a jury.  His biography today contains very many claims which, if true, cast further doubt on his conviction.

His description of a conversation with a Libyan official regarding the dropping of his appeal is almost certainly an honest account based on his recollections.  However, it is not as Herald journalist Lucy Adams claims when she says: "If Megrahi's version of events is true, it will prove very damaging to the minister, who has repeatedly distanced himself from any appeal which, if it had gone ahead, could have been a massive embarrassment to the Scottish legal system."

Mr Megrahi's version of events may well be accurate and in fact probably are, however this does not prove any 'deal' existed nor does it prove MacAskill urged Megrahi to do anything - Megrahi did not speak to MacAskill about the appeal as the book makes clear.  The question is whether the claims related by Gaddafi's envoy to Mr Megrahi are true?  It is already documented in official whitehall communications that London was actively helping the Libyan's with the complexities of Scots law.  An appeal would have highlighted the weakness of the original verdict and could have led to very uncomfortable questions for the US and UK authorities.

There is no question that this has been a stain on Scottish Justice.  However there is one other Scottish institution that also finds itself in the dock of shame - the Scottish media.  The behaviour of the BBC is a low point in the history of a proud institution.

For those who are unaware of the way BBC Scotland reported and manipulated the Megrahi story, and other related events, then here is one of Newsnet Scotland's very first series of articles ... Megrahi, the media and the myths


# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 20:32
Just watching the Al Jazeera version on the documentary now... the obvious fact that jumps to mind is that the BBC's version was an edited 1/2 hour of selective parts of a 1hour programme, which in my mind was to clearly dilute the severity of the message. It is still on here...

Edit: Just finished watching the Al Jazeera version of the documentary... all I can say is that the BBC make me physically sick with their blatant and heartless misrepresentati on of the truth. £¥€√ the BBC and their propaganda minions!!!! angry just now!
# RTP 2012-02-27 21:08
Have also watched it and recorded it so I can go back and watch again anytime,we would all like to know the truth but the CIA and the Brits don't want that to come out.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 21:27
All you have to do is spot and assess the importance of the bits the BBC left out and all the smoke clears RTP.

I'm feeling a little better now after 10 minutes doing my breathing exercises in the darkened room. *;0)
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 21:37
I have just watched both programmes Alba. Like you I have come to the same conclusion, the EBC programme was a heavily edited version of the Aljazeera programme.

My personal feelings are that the EBC, knowing that John Ashton's book was being released, felt they were pushed into a corner and were left with no where to run except to rush out a programme on the al Megrahi case. Unfortunately for the EBC all they could achieve was a 1/2 hour programme that in the end was nothing more than a "cut and paste" synopsis of the Aljazeera programme with a Sally MacNair over dub. In fact it appears to me that all the EBC have done is to take a transcript of the original programme and have dear old Sally read it out for the EBC programme. Personally I wish they hadn't bothered, the programme was, in my view, atrocious.

The full 1 hour programme from Aljazeera was up to the usual high standards I have come to expect from them.

The big question now is "where do the EBC run with this story now?" I suspect they will try and run with the "Kenny MacAskill "forced" al Megrahi to drop his appeal. My suspicion is that the "pressure" to drop his appeal did not in fact come from the Scottish Government but from Wastemonster through their "conversations" with the Libyan officials.

It is already documented in official whitehall communications that London was actively helping the Libyan's with the complexities of Scots law. An appeal would have highlighted the weakness of the original verdict and could have led to very uncomfortable questions for the US and UK authorities.

I think this statement is the crux of the matter when discussing the dropping of al Megrahi's appeal. In particular the phrase "very uncomfortable questions for the US and UK authorities". This above everything else is, in my view, very damming evidence against the U.K. and U.S.A. governments!
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 21:48
Arbroath, you are always one for the calm and collected approach... in contrast to my tendency for the passionista style. *;0)
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 21:49
Always aim to please Alba. :D
# X_Sticks 2012-02-27 22:55
Can't agree more with both comments from Alba4Eva and Arbroath. The Al Jazeera version calls much of the Scottish and UK establishment into question. The BBC only managed to bring themselves into question for trying to cover up the truth once again. Disgraceful BBC!

- The Judges
- Strathclyde Police
- The FBI
- The CIA
- The Prosecution

All of these bodies must have known about and colluded in the framing of Al-Megrahi and the subsequent cover up.

Why is no-one asking the awkward questions of these bodies.

Whuy is the BBC spinning the story to protect these people.

There must be answers to these questions.

It will be interesting to see where Murdoch stands on this one, could be a chance to find a REAL investigative story for the "new" Scottish Sun perhaps?
# Holebender 2012-02-28 16:13
Surely it was the Borders (Dumfries & Galloway?) police who investigated, so what has Strathclyde got to do with it? And the SCCRC were the ones who found the grounds for appeal, so what's your beef with them?
# oldnat 2012-02-28 16:18
Dumfries and Galloway police were in charge of the investigation but, as they had limited resources and specialisms they called in support from other forces - mainly Strathclyde.
# X_Sticks 2012-02-28 21:20
Hi Holbender & Oldnat,

The reason I said Strathclyde was that on one of the "dodgy" interview documents with Tony Gauci had a big "Strathclyde Police" stamp on it, so I assumed they were the main culprits. I think it was the evidence about the grey, beige shirt if i recall.

The Strathclyde blues also have former as far as I know, wink, nudge etc.
# Exile 2012-02-28 06:40

You perfectly encapsulate my immediate thoughts on this. I'm sure the foul hand of the Labour UK government was behind the dropping of the appeal. They even managed to manipulate the Libyan official into telling Megrahi the suggestion had come from Kenny MacAskill. I'm sure KMacA has been totally straight throughout this whole debacle. What a parcel o rogues, including the BBC!
# Teri 2012-02-28 20:10
Spot. However, I think the Labur MSPs will have selective amnesia again on this one.
# Old Smokey 2012-02-28 09:30
Its disgraceful the way the BBC are portraying this
# brusque 2012-02-27 20:37
I found the BBC programme painful to watch. There could not be anyone who did not feel compassion for Mr Megrahi and his family.

I'm just not sure that we should be voyeurs at this time when he is close to the end, and deserves peace. But I hope that those who have looked forward to celebrating his death - many of them in the Scottish Media - will feel a little shame.

# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 21:15
He just released a book. He wants his name cleared more than anything... the BBC made a blatant and cynical attempt to cast doubt on the content of the evidence presented... just enough so that it appeared that the evidence for Magrahis defence appeared not as strong as it actually is.

If ever there was conclusive proof that the media in this country are completely controlled and Orwellian, then we just witnessed it in full glorious Technicolor on the BBC this evening! Madness!!!
# nottooweeorstupid 2012-02-27 21:46
I agree brusque. Ten years ago I had to watch my father dying of metastatic prostate cancer, as Mr Megrahi is. Even now I find it difficult to think about, it was such a painful and distressing illness with no respite, with spontaneous bone fractures, paralysis and constant nausea.
I would have given anything for another year with my Dad. When I hear the frenzied baying about how Mr Megrahi hasn't had the decency to die yet it sickens me and moves me to tears.
Kenny MacAskill is a compassionate man. We could do with more like him.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-27 20:37
I am sure that better people than I will make better comments. However I have taken both the Herald to task for the gross inaccuracy of claiming that the Justice Minister had "urged" Megrahi to drop his appeal. According to the published book, any suggestion that he should drop his appeal was mentioned to a third party in privacy. Therefore, there can be no possible confirmation. The Justice Minister denies the allegation which is good enough for me if not for the Beeb or the Herald
# brusque 2012-02-27 20:41
This hornet's nest has been stirred again.

There are quite a few people, and not all in this country, who will be looking to cover their backs if documented evidence can be produced.
# Fungus 2012-02-27 20:49
Yet again lies, half truths and obfuscation. I saw a glimpse of an interview with Megrahi aired on BBC, the man in his death bed. Are there no lows to which they will not sink?
# Hing em high 2012-02-27 20:51
So who is this Ashton?

Oh and maybe the Levenson enquiry should be extended to have a look at the BBC whilst they are at it!
# Rafiki 2012-02-27 20:57
Every time I read about Megrahi's appeal being dropped I think "Cui bono?" - who benefits?
It was hard enough for Kenny MacAskill to make the most controversial decision of any Justice Secretary; probably Westminster got confused between the Prisoner Transfer Agreement brokered by Tony Blair, which would have required the appeal to be dropped and compassionate release which did not. Labour was desperate to send Megrahi home.
# snowthistle 2012-02-27 21:48
I'm sure Megrahi was desperate to go home. If I was desperate to go home and I had two chances I would remove any impediment to either in order to improve my chances
# Jenny2603 2012-02-27 22:00
Exactly. The thing I don't get with this is why would Kenny MacAskill want him to drop his appeal? Surely it would have been less controversial to release a dying man with an appeal pending, the public being more likely to sympathise with a dying man who may be innocent than one who has, on paper at least, accepted the guilty verdict.

For the avoidance of any doubt I personally believe that Megrahi is innocent. I'm just pointing out how his actions could have been spun by the press and opposition.
# govanite 2012-02-27 20:58
OT but I noticed this the other day. It is a pity we don't have a press and media in this country that puts Scotland's interests at the top of the agenda.

Too poor, too wee, too stupid ?
Not these guys:
# oldnat 2012-02-27 21:10
Thanks for the link. Must be wrong of course. Ireland would be so much more powerful if it was part of the UK.

Just think! They would have part of a finger on a nuclear trigger, and part of the backside on a seat in the Security Council!
# govanite 2012-02-27 21:17
Actually, the headline on the printed edition was something like:
'Kenny and Merkel to discuss EU's future'

Can you imagine the Colonial Times printing such a headline regarding Eck ?
No wonder they are doomed to bankruptcy.
# Hing em high 2012-02-27 21:21
They could also have a share of those Brit err I mean French carriers that wont be carrying any jets.
# Legerwood 2012-02-27 21:38
oldnat 2012-02-27 21:10
Thanks for the link. Must be wrong of course. Ireland would be so much more powerful if it was part of the UK.

Just think! They would have part of a finger on a nuclear trigger, and part of the backside on a seat in the Security Council!

Whereas as an independent coungtry and full member of the UN in their own right they have the chance to have a full seat on the Security Council. The Security Council has 15 members ten of whom serve 2 year terms. The members are elected from various blocs within the UN General Assembly. Western Europe is one such bloc and Portugal is the current rep from the Western European bloc.

As well as having the chance to sit on the SC Ireland also has the right to make representations to the SC if it is discussing matters which it considers are of importance to Ireland.
# Teri 2012-02-28 20:15
I think Enda Kenny is a bit ahead of himself in participating in these discussions. The Irish Attorney General has just informed him that a Referendum must be held on the EU Treaty changes. Given the amount of financial pain the Irish people are suffering just now, they are in no mood to bow to Europe's wishes.
# J Wil 2012-02-27 21:45
I was unable to see the documentary but I did see the Scottish evening news, in which Megrahi was speaking in English, but not about the way he was released. You would have thought with the determination of the BBC to get at the SNP they would have made sure that they had a recording of Megrahi actually saying the words. That they have not suggests to me that it is a fabrication by the BBC.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 21:52
The problem is J Wil the EBC programme was a very poor "cut and paste" version of the Aljazeera programme.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 22:02
Everyone must watch the FULL Al Jazeera version, so that the BBC manipulation can be exposed.

Some posters above have only seen the BBC version above and have come to the wrong conclusion... The main point is that Magrahi wants the exposure for his fight to clear his name. His book was released today for this very purpose. (Ps. I intend buying it this week.)

It is those who control the media (especially the BBC), who would like to see this issue quietly dissapear.

Ps. Who knows if Magrahi has ever read NNS, but he should know that even after he is with his God, the fight for the truth will never stop.
# Hirta 2012-02-27 22:05
Al Jazeera version was indeed not diluted. The BBC have yet again excelled in selective SNP bashing.
# RTP 2012-02-27 23:42
# Alba4Eva

I have taped them both so will be watching them again,did you also watch Campbell on Newsnight was not that bad did try and get the writer to say if Kenny might have been economical with the truth.
Also heard McDonald spoutingforthsa ying Kenny must come to Parliament and make a statement a pity Lamont wont do the same.
# Islegard 2012-02-27 22:01
For their to be a deal both parties would have to get something out of it. The UK government received deals and contracts from Gadaffi. I don't imagine the Scottish Government would enter a deal where Westminster benefited and Scotland got nothing.
# Hing em high 2012-02-27 22:10
US sales executives were also lining up outside of Gadaffis tent hoping for some juicy fat contracts.
# Islegard 2012-02-27 22:04
The fact we have new information from the BBC! Very trustworthy.
# tartanfever 2012-02-27 22:06
I didn't see the programme (hopefully I can catch it on the i-player). Like J Wil, I caught Reporting Scotland and the lunchtime news which had various clips that I recognised from the Al Jazeera documentary.

It could be the case that the BBC have actually just bought the programme and re-versioned it for themselves - it's quite common ( I remember the BBC buying an American ABC programme on the Kennedy assassination that they just re-voiced using Gavin Esler)

Without seeing the programme I can't say much except at this time I would like to know who conducted the interview with Mr Megrahi in his bedroom ?

Was it his defence team/ the author of the book ?
Was it BBC Scotland ?
Was it a friend or relative doing it ?

The video quality is pretty horrendous, which means it may have been an amateur camera freely available and affordable. The conducting of interviews is the most important part of any current affairs programme, and having been involved in hundreds of tv interviews over the years, I know the difference it makes when you have someone you know asking the questions.

Of course, interviewing anyone who is suffering like Megrahi is difficult and you have to tread carefully and with respect, but in saying that, he wanted to participate in the interview and get his story out. Any professional journalist I know would have been asking questions during such an interview.

With that in mind, can I ask - during this interview, were any questions being asked on camera or was Mr Megrahi just making statements ?
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-27 22:17
It was George Thomson, the ex-cop turned private eye who has been assisting with Megrahi's defence and has enough of his confidence to be allowed to speak to him in his home. It wasn't so much of an interview, as George allowing Megrahi to get on tape what he wanted to say.
# tartanfever 2012-02-27 23:09
Thanks for that soixante, appreciated.
# Jim Johnston 2012-02-27 22:06
80% of the so called BBC "Scotland" "investigation" was stolen from the Al Jazeera documentary.

Also, can any right minded person be surprised at the latest frenzie to blame the SNP for everything short of planting the bomb ?

There is a rats nest out there of people who set up Megrahi, they are the men guilty of a cover up to save their own necks, and I don't think for one minute they all speak the Queens English.

Get the Report published and be damned. We the people should be told exactly who, what, when, where and why it suited the UK, including Scots, and the USA to stitch up Megrahi for something he never did.

I don't think todays Scottish Government have anything or anyone to protect. If they have, shame on them for complicity.

Get the Report published in full now.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 22:20
Where are all the families of the victims.... If any of my family were a victim, I would be tireless like a Zombie until I got them Justice.

They should be demanding the disclosure of the SCCRC report!
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 22:25
Alba, I think, as most of the victims were American they have been drip fed the "Megrahi is the bomber" line from probably the White House down to the lowest local journalist.

I don't think very many of the American victims families will have seen very much or any of the evidence that has been uncovered, in part through the Aljazeera programmes and al Megrahi's defence team.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 22:42
Dr Jim Swire stood alone for all I am aware for years, there were many other family members who did nothing... friends, extended family also. Must have numbered many hundreds of people. Now would be the time for them to put the pressure on in my opinion. There is no doubt that evidence exists, which is not being released. That in itself should be reason enough.

Also, he is certainly an innocent man... I always trust my gut and my gut is right on this. The SNP have a huge opportunity here to bat one right out the park.
# call me dave 2012-02-27 22:23
If clarity in the Megrahi case is a risk to certain people then muddy the waters by introducing the MacKaskill allegation.

It diverts attention away from the core argument which is his guilt or innocence.


Interestingly tonight on the radio Scotland Mr Rennie did not do his usual tirade against the SNP and used more reasoned words and seemed, to me, that he might be persuaded that the verdict was wrong.

Not that he carries to much weight nowadays if ever.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 22:28
An interesting piece on Magrahis book release here...

I have always felt that the SNP government should be being a little more agressive at getting to the truth and fighting the Westminster machine... thats just me though! What's everyone elses feelings on this?
# Hirta 2012-02-27 22:42
For Ashton, however, the claim that Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill had indicated to a Libyan delegation Megrahi would be "more likely" to be released on compassionate grounds from prison if he dropped an appeal against his conviction is not the most important revelation in his book, entitled Megrahi: You Are My Jury.

For him, the real scandal is he believes Megrahi is innocent - and he thinks he has the evidence to prove it.

My bold which proves the BBC don't actually care about the truth. As long as they continue to portray the SNP Govt and MacAskill in negative terms, then all is well.


I am assuming the recent meeting between AS and (Lord) Patten regarding biased reporting has been met with deaf ears @ BBC HQ?
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 22:46
Would you really expect anything else Hirta? :D
# Angus 2012-02-27 22:36
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter was lost on the flight, attended the trial, he reckons Megrahi is innocent.
I dont understand the case, and havent really followed it but I do know Blair and Brown visited Gadaffi, and I cant help but think there is a lot more to this than what we know, with the military involvement in Libya and Gadaffi's murder, point to something more sinister, as well as the big buisiness and oil, the Brit government didnt rush in to help the murdered millions of civilions in Rwanda and the Congo. But then there isnt any Oil in these areas.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 22:53
Start here Angus....
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 22:40
As always the EBC website cuts through the bull and gets straight to the core of the truth. Well at least the truth according to Pacific Quay!
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 23:42
And the BBC fail completely to note that it was most likely Magrahis Lawyers who were advising him on the possible benefits to his position from dropping his appeal. A legitimate manouvre and tactic for his legal team to consider under the circumstances I would offer.

I hate the BBC soooooo MUCH.
# Teri 2012-02-28 20:22
One of Megrahi's lawyers was Tony Kelly, brother of 'Mr Monotone' James Kelly, Labour MSP. That, to me, says it all I think.
# sneckedagain 2012-02-27 22:47
I don't understand anybody who still believes Al Megrahi to be guilty. He was convicted on evidence that wouldn't have got through a Sheriff Court which presumably was why there was no jury at the travesty at Camp Zeist

"The most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years.....I have written about this and nobody is interested. Every lawyer who has ... read the judgment says: 'this is nonsense'. It is nonsense. It really distresses me; I won't let it go."
So said Prof. Robert Black QC who actually set up the trial.

On the reasons for Al Megrahi dropping his appeal I have always held the view that there is some geo-political reason for this - either pressure from Libya or pressure from the US - neither of whom would want the dirty deal they did to send an innocent man to prison to become public knowledge.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 23:00
Snecked, I think it is a case of pressure from the U.S. government via the U.K. government.

I have a wee suspicion that now this new evidence has been aired, and the book is out, there may be more than a few "individuals" running about trying to put a few "fires" out.

One thing does worry me however. It may just be me thinking too much, probably been watching a few too many spy movies, but I have a wee bit of concern over the safety of both George Thomson the investigator and John Ashton the author.

Ach! I think the "Darkened Room" is beckoning! :D
# Caledonian Lass 2012-02-28 11:29
My thoughts exactly, Arbroath 1320. I too am concerned for the safety of George Thomson and John Ashton.

I think there was a cover up of the evidence by the UK and US governments, MI6 and the CIA. Hans Kochler, the UN Observer at the Camp Zeist Trial in Holland stated it looked like an intelligence cover up.

There's the distinct possibility a lot is covered over by the Official Secrets Act so it will be difficult to get matters clarified.
# govanite 2012-02-27 23:03
I remember the angry claims that MacAskill asked Megrahi to drop his appeal during the prison visit. Yet Megrahi doesn't claim this in his book. So another conspiracy shot down.
There is nothing new here. Just the usual suspects with nothing much to report.
How they would benefit from Independence and the chance to discuss proper affairs of state rather than gossip.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-27 23:08
I think the good old FMQ's on Thursday could be interesting to watch!

What with the referendum date that may or may not be true, the truth about al Megrahi, and the lack of explanation from the lamentable one about anything Labour. :D
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-27 23:48
I bet ya a million dollars, the big story at FMQ's is Rangers.

Press conference will be on Thursday morning at Ibrox....

# Teri 2012-02-28 20:23
MacAskill is making a statement to Parliament tomorrow afternoon.
# dave1297 2012-02-27 23:04
It is a sorry state of affairs when an "innocent" man's quest for justice is tossed to one side in an attempt to hang MacAskill out to dry eh? The Lockerbie attrocity happened long before MacAskill was a government minister, hell the sham trial happened long before MacAskill was a government minister! Do we think it is time to release the SCCRC report on this though?
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-02-27 23:13
It appears the BBC are at it again by using highly selective pieces in their Megrahi piece and ignoring all the problem raising points for Westminster and Capitol Hill in the Al Jezeera original interview.

In the Al Jezeera interview Megrahi makes it clear he did not speak to Kenny McAskill prior to his release but was advised by lawyers acting for the Libyan Government to drop his appeal against conviction.

Given what is known of T Blair and J Straw's involvement in trying to circumvent Scottish Justice procedures to get BP and Exxon their deal in Libya, it was clearly in they and their USA allies interest to stop the reasons for the appeal being allowed to be made public. A position they are still trying to ensure will never happen.

If I was Mr McAskill I would now just publish and be damned - no matter the outcome, this ulcerating boil on the arse of Scotland would be lanced once and for all and if a few senior judges are made to look very stupid along with the UK Supreme Court, Blair Brown, Straw, Gray and rest then so be it.

Even if it is going to embarrass some of Kenny's pals in the Court of Session and polis who 'investigated' the bombing - its got to be done. There are not 15 Scots who would have found Megrahi guilty as charged on the evidence provided by the secret services of the UK and USA the worst would have been 'not proven'.
# dave1297 2012-02-27 23:16
"If I was Mr McAskill I would now just publish and be damned - no matter the outcome, this ulcerating boil on the arse of Scotland would be lanced once and for all and if a few senior judges are made to look very stupid along with the UK Supreme Court, Blair Brown, Straw, Gray and rest then so be it."

Well said Mad Jock!
# Islegard 2012-02-27 23:45
I think we are all guilty of forgetting we are living in one of the most heavily censored and news controlled environments in Western Europe. If you watch Franch 24 or Al Jazeera or look at the European media. There is no mention of this story. Strange for such a huge coup!
# oldnat 2012-02-27 23:50
On the other hand, Newsnicht's interview with the ex US Ambassador was much more balanced.
# naemairleesplease 2012-02-28 00:30
Does anyone have a link to the bbc version on the iplayer?
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 00:58
Can't find one yet naemair. You get the impression that EBC might have realised we have sussed them out on this one?

I think the Aljazeera programme will be available in the next few days. I think they may wait till after the Thursday programme has aired.
# Jacko 2012-02-28 00:34
KCTV, LBA, IRIB, BBC. Not really so different as those at Pacific Quay would believe themselves to be.

It's astonishing how apt the moniker 'British Bullshot Corporation' is when you actually start to review their output and contrast with other external reports.

Their entire credibility is founded upon the ignorance of an audience. The less ignorant the audience the more the BBC is found wanting.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 00:37
Well I guess the EBC is found to be VERY wanting then! :D
# scottishwatersnotforsale 2012-02-28 00:43
2 points
1.What other Govt did the Libyan officials speak to (as other negotiations as we now know ) were going on ?

2. K Mcaskills life would have been much easier if he denied release,so why would he ask for the appeal to be dropped-he could just have said no end of matter.
# Barontorc 2012-02-28 01:49
Time to release the SCCRC papers - and damn the lot of them!

Why are we Scots the patsy in all of this? Get off your knees and get justice doing what its supposed to do!
# colin8652 2012-02-28 06:38
why ? because after 300 years of being told your rubbish, its difficult for people to be brave and forthright.
# GerrySNP 2012-02-28 03:14
Absolutely agree - the publication of the SCCRC report will shoot most of this BS out of the water - if I may mix my metaphors!
# govanite 2012-02-28 06:46
it is on iPlayer now:
# Macart 2012-02-28 07:56
The truth will out.

That report, redacted or otherwise will be released and it will back up assertions made in the book. A lot of people in governments from across the pond through Westminster, past and present will soon be heading for bolt holes and lawyers. Sadly this sorry mess will badly damage the Scottish justice system and cast a taint even on the Scottish Government who have expressed publicly their views on the safety of the conviction. Its not going to be a case of who has sinned here, but who has sinned the least. That would almost certainly be the Scottish Government. That feels very much like cold comfort, but hopefully they will be big enough to weather what's coming and deliver a new justice system fit for purpose in the 21st century.

I dearly hope that Mr Swire and Mr Megrahi will, very soon, receive the justice and reward that they deserve, the initiation of a renewed inquiry into the case.
# gus1940 2012-02-28 16:38
Is it not a fairly universal convention that governments support a conviction until such time as the verdict is overturned?
# tartanfever 2012-02-28 16:44
Exactly Gus.
# Macart 2012-02-28 22:22
Gus, TF - Yep it is the governments duty to support both the conviction and their justice system. When the poop hits the fan sadly all people will remember is that the SG stood up and said so. As I've said before on similar threads, the SG were put in a no win situation here. All they could be expected to do was take the path of least damage. But it still left them with a very public declaration of confidence in the conviction.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 17:01
In my view, the judges in the original were lied to, misinformed, duped and so on, much like we are by the EBC. Unfortunately the judges would, I believe rely on the expectation that no false evidence was presented. If that was their presumption then I suppose you could argue they made a sound judgement on the evidence presented.

However, as we now know there are large swathes of evidence that was presented that is either, concocted, misrepresentati on of the truth, falsification of the truth, manipulation of witnesses etc. that, had the judges been aware of this at the time I am sure they would have thrown the al Megrahi case out without any reservations.

I think I have to aghree with gus on this issue. I strongly suspect that the Scottish government is sticking with the al Megrahi is guilt line mainly because the courts found him so. The Scottish government can not, in my view, just come out and make a statement of fact that he is innocent. I believe they can only do so once he has been cleared through the judicial process. I know some, or most, will disagree with me on this but I strongly feel that the Scottish government's hands are tied on this one.

It is because of this that, like everyone else, I feel that the SCCRC report MUST be published in full!

I would even go further and say the report must be published and damn any opposition to the publication. Furthermore, all redacted documents contained within the SCCRC report must be unredacted in full. Failure to do so will just continue the conspiracy theory that we all know exists.

With all that has gone on in the last few years I think we have all, more or less, come to the same conclusion. There was collusion between the then U.K. government of the day and the U.S. government.

If I recall correctly, there had just been a bombing in a German nightclub shortly before the Pan Am 103 disaster in which a number of U.S. servicemen were killed. In this instance every one was looking at Syria/Iran as the culprits. Why they should suddenly turn onto Libya for Pan Am 103 is beyond me.

Finally, I recall reading just recently that an individual, Syrian I think, has recently been released from a Swedish prison for terrorism charges. I mention only in passing as the article I read, sorry can't remember where, mentioned that this individual had, at one point been high on the list of suspects for Pan Am 103.

O.K. folks you're safe now.

Rant over! :D
# Macart 2012-02-28 22:32
Nope yer pretty much bang on Arb. They were left with little choice. But you just know that the opposition and the media are going to make some mileage out of 'Oh but didn't you say.....'

Also fully agree that the report should be published in full and without any redaction.

I don't believe that KM and the SG could have acted any differently under the circumstances without pulling even greater amounts of stank down on their heads. I hold my special ire for the ............ that put our country in this position in the first place. I hope they do put out the full report and follow that up with a renewed inquiry, bring the whole house of cards down on those responsible.

[Subsequent chat removed. Feel free to chat on the Newsnet Scotland Facebook page - NNS Mod Team]
# frankyB 2012-02-28 08:02
Doesn't this just distract from the fact that the circuit board and eye witness is almost no longer credible?

When all this gets out New Labour and the Tories will have to go into hiding considering the way they have conducted themselves.

But wait: That would take a fair press and media so maybe not.
# frankyB 2012-02-28 08:07
Considering the way the BBC have reported this is there not a way we can take them on?

Organise a perpetual picket outside their doors right up to the day of independence..

I'd easily give time to this.
# Jester 2012-02-28 08:33
Quoting frankyB:
Considering the way the BBC have reported this is there not a way we can take them on?

Organise a perpetual picket outside their doors right up to the day of independence..
I'd easily give time to this.

Despite unionists lies of an army of Cybernats run from a central think tank, no such cohesion exists.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-28 08:36
I hear the 'Occupy' folk are looking for a new venue!
# UpSpake 2012-02-28 08:36
Iconic image of nosecone lying on its side in a field outside Lockerbie never fell 6 1/2 miles out of the sky and landed, largely intact.
If we follow the accepted story on that why is it not in several million pieces ?.
In its resting condition it must have only fallen a few hundred feet. Now, how could it have done that ?.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-28 09:11
I disagree, the nosecone is extremely light weight and the location of the tear in the fuselage was just behind it and caused it to sever from the rest of the plane.

...a better question would be, why were no significant pieces of a Boeing 757 found at the Pentagon?
# MAcandroid 2012-02-28 14:20
This F4 was only going at 500mph and was atomised.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-28 20:20
Too many variables to consider that of any relevance to the Pentagon event. No scientific conclusions can be arrived at.
# Barontorc 2012-02-28 10:23
Upspake and Alba - keep your focus on the issue - the Al-Jazeera program was taken apart by the BBC, just how it could be done under copyright laws I struggle to understand - but, the BBC version specifically removed critical passages from the Al-J production - why?

The BBC production looked like it had been cobbled together in a hurry and why was it left to Sally McNair? - Where was Glen Cambell, or Raymond Buchanan, or other cohorts who've been central to the BBC Scotland Lockerbie investigation?

Why was it broadcast on the same day but earlier, before the Al-J program? - Did the BBC want to get their cropped version on air for a reason and what could that be?

It was a glaring own goal when the viewers could easily compare and contrast and if ever proof was needed that the BBC are actively misrepresenting the facts it is here for the world and their grannies to see.

Don't suppose it will be on Call Kaye with an E, anytime soon either!
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 15:51
Barontorc, I think the phrase "cut and paste" springs to mind when talking about the EBC "excuse" of a programme.
# tartanfever 2012-02-28 16:52
Regarding copyright Baron, programmes are just like any other commodity, they can be re-sold to other broadcasters. This is evidently the case here, the BBC has bought this programme. There would be no copyright infringement.

I think I am right in saying that the same person has been given the producer credit on both the Al Jazeera and BBC programme, a chap called Christopher Jeans.

What is rather duplicitous is the marketing from the BBC as 'this is our programme'. 'BBC investigates...' as a title is completely misleading, whilst they may have done some extra filming, the majority of this programme has just been bought by the BBC, all the 'leg work' has been carried out by non-BBC staff under funding from the Al Jazeera network.

What would be ultimately hypocritical would be to award this programme with a Scottish Bafta for best current affairs programme, which no doubt it will be considered for.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 17:08
Tartan as, I think, everyone on this site, who has watched both programmes will realise the EBC programme was a direct "cut and paste" of the one from Aljzeera. Of that there is no doubt. However my question this.

Should the EBC programme not, at the very least made mention of the fact that the contents were, in some linked to the Aljazeera programme?

Surely failure to recognise Aljazeera as the "owner" of the original material is breaking the copyright laws.

I bow to those with superior knowledge in this case.
# tartanfever 2012-02-28 17:23
I know where you are coming from, and to be fair, my knowledge of copyright is not that great (even yesterday i was getting advice from the mods and posters here on Newsnet !)

However, I've worked on re-versions of other programmes and it's more common than many would think. If you sell your product, then you usually enter negotiations about price, the number of times the footage can be used and so on. More often than not the original broadcaster is not credited and thats a fairly standard approach throughout the media as no broadcaster really wants to show that they have just 'bought' a programme, especially a news/current affairs one.

As I say, Al Jazeera were obviously happy to sell the footage, or to give the footage to the BBC to use and thats pretty much that. Part of the deal could have been that the original producer, Christopher Jeans, was also given the credit on the BBC programme.

But as for a copyright breach, I just don't see it.

Shame really.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 17:35
Thanks for that tartan.
# snowthistle 2012-02-28 09:00
Who was the Libyan official? Do we know anything about him?
# snowthistle 2012-02-28 09:23
He seems to have been quite an important guy in the Libyan regime

I wonder who else he was meeting with other than MacAskill?
# oldnat 2012-02-28 16:27
That's interesting. I hadn't realised that Obeidi had "been the chairman of the Libyan government's 'Lockerbie Committee' since at least 1993."

Effectively that made him Gadaffi's personal representative on Lockerbie issues - which puts a very different light on anything he said to Megrahi.
# alexb 2012-02-28 10:24
Having watched both programmes, and not learned a great deal as far as "new" evidence was concerned, apart maybe from the testing of the piece of circuit board, what I thought was missing was any alternative explanation of who carried out the bombing of Flight 103. The only reference of any significance was in the B.B.C programme, where towards the end they mentioned the fact if Megrahi didn,t do it, who did? He, Megrahi, still hasn,t given, as far as I am aware, any explanation of his presence in Malta, his use of a false passport, and whether he was indeed a member of the Libyan Intelligence Service. It,s these nagging doubts that makes me unsure that he is as completely innocent, as he claims. These unanswered questions, together with the supposed involvement of Ahmed Jibril and the P.F.L.P (G.C), who still have their headquarters in Damascus, Syria, another country who have reason to hate the U.S.A, and with their then support from from, at least in 1988, Libya and Iran, to name but two,surely suggests that a few in the Middle East all have connections to this plot. As a purely personal opinion, I think Iran were involved as revenge for the shooting down of their commercial airliner by a U.S warship the same year, but who they paid to carry out this act remains unclear, although Jibril,and his organisation, must remain the main suspects.He certainly boasted a few days after the 21st that, "the U.S.A would never, ever, find out how I did it". The people I feel sorry for in this continuing saga are the relatives, and friends, of those who died in this act of mass-murder, as the full truth may never be known. They deserve better.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-28 12:16
You need to get Ashton's book. I've just got it and there's a lot of that detail in there.

As for who did it, the case against the PFLP-GC, including Dalkamoni, Khreesat and Abu Elias has been widely covered. Ashton goes over it all again. Megrahi says he's not accusing anyone, because he doesn't know and it's not nice to accuse people when you don't know. But everybody thinks it was the PFLP-GC.

Megrahi's own account of what he was doing on Malta is in the book. It's all pretty mundane, ordinary, everyday business stuff. And I sort of wonder if he might have been having an affair with a woman on Malta that he's still not prepared to admit to because of his wife, but that's just me speculating.

The real kicker is the evidence that the bomb was never anywhere near Malta in the first place, but was infiltrated at Heathrow before the feeder flight from Frankfurt landed. That's been obvious for a long time, but it gets relatively little discussion. That of course means Megrahi has an actual alibi.
# Barontorc 2012-02-28 10:45
alexb - something stinks to the high heavens in all of this and the UK and USA governments are in it up to their necks.

Another few minutes flying time and there would have been no Scottish and no UK involvement, but it happened here in Scotland and it's the responsibility of the Scottish Government to ensure this tragedy tossed into its lap is met with the full investigation and justice system.

This clearly has not been done, for whatever reason and any such reasons should not be allowed to denigrate natural justice, without very compelling and transparent proof of the need to do so. The evidence that would support such an action has been redacted and hidden in circumstances that convey all that's needed to show conspiracy and deception at work.

The Scottish Government must clear-up all it's associations with that and publish the evidence it is holding.
# alexb 2012-02-28 11:22
Quoting Barontorc:
alexb - something stinks to the high heavens in all of this and the UK and USA governments are in it up to their necks.

Another few minutes flying time and there would have been no Scottish and no UK involvement, but it happened here in Scotland and it's the responsibility of the Scottish Government to ensure this tragedy tossed into its lap is met with the full investigation and justice system.

This clearly has not been done, for whatever reason and any such reasons should not be allowed to denigrate natural justice, without very compelling and transparent proof of the need to do so. The evidence that would support such an action has been redacted and hidden in circumstances that convey all that's needed to show conspiracy and deception at work.

The Scottish Government must clear-up all it's associations with that and publish the evidence it is holding.

Quite agree, Barontorc. As far as I am aware the Scottish Government want the S.C.C.R.C to publish their report in full, but they have no power to force them to do so. Although, while this may shed some light on the matter, I still think the real story is buried out there, and may never come to light.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 15:56
If I remember correctly Barontorc, Pan Am 103 was delayed in departing Heathrow on that fateful night. Something not even the bomber, who ever he is could have taken into account.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-28 22:26
The plane was headed up over Glasgow, Skye and out over Benbecula. It wouldn't have left Scottish airspace for another 45 minutes.

Some have said that the plane was late,and that if it had been on time it would have exploded "far out over the Atlantic". That's not true. The plane was on time. If it had sprinted off the blocks and straight on to the runway (very unlikely at Heathrow!) the earliest it could have been would have been a mere 10 minutes earlier. It might have been over Glasgow then.

Of course, that ignores two things. First, that the more usual flight plan for that route was over the Irish Sea and Ireland, so nobody could have been aiming for Scotland on purpose. And second, that the overwhelming probability is that the explosion was triggered by an altimeter device, which would have gone off 38 minutes after take-off irrespective of the time the plane actually left the tarmac. Lockerbie was doomed the minute the flight controllers decided to sent PA103 on the northerly course that night, because of the high westerly wind.
# Mac 2012-02-28 11:01
It can't be much of a book if Kenny MacAskill is the lead story.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-28 12:17
Wrong. The book is dynamite. Get thee to thy friendly local bookshop, instantly.
# Marga B 2012-02-28 11:08
The MacAskill story has suddenly disappeared from the Scotsman.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 15:57
I wonder why? :D

Don't tell me some one at the Hootsmon has read the book.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-28 11:35
Have just revisited Wikileaks/Megrahi via google to remind myself of the duplicity on the part of the then Labour UK Gov and US complicity.
Interesting reading and puts the last two day media frenzy into perspective. I doubt if they will get away with it!
# the wallace 2012-02-28 12:12
Why doesent the parliament pass an act that allows the sccrb to reveal all new evidence??,kenny mcaskil must be one of the few people left in scotland who thinks meghragi is still guilty.He may be the justice secretary but he is not doing scotland any favours,as it seems to me that he is more intent in protecting the corrupt and complicit scottish police and crown office,in an international cospiracy of epic propoortions.The truth will come out,and the stain that the law and legal and political estblishments of britain,the usa and scotland leaves behind will not wash easily if ever,from our nations conscious.He should be defending an innocent dying man and our country, in the name of justice, and not be complicit in a cover up that will shame our nation in the eyes of the world for eternity.
# UpSpake 2012-02-28 12:14
Barontorc. Sorry to disappoint but you are all following a false trail. Keep getting wrapped up in the minutae of a well oiled obfuscation and you will end up where you are supposed to end up - nowhere !. There is no Lybian story here. The were roped in after the fact not before it. Great cover story and villians all the way. Sadly, not the right villians, they are still out there, pulling the strings !.
Will it take a 1/4 century for the truth to come out on this most appalling of tragedies. A tragedy, not a bombing !.
# SEUMAS31 2012-02-28 12:19
The whole truth of this matter will have to wait 30 years to be revealed,just like the McCrone report as Westminster and the C.I.A.have too much to hide
# bigbuachaille 2012-02-28 12:48
For anyone who hasn't been convinced of the innocence of Mr Al Megrahi, visit Jim Swire's site:
He is, unsurprisingly, generous in his praise of this new book and sees it as another step on the way to revealing the truth.
There is also an interesting blog from Sunday 12th Feb., where Mr Swire dishes out some withering criticism of David McLetchie, Scottish Conservatives justice spokesman.
The sooner the truth is out, the better for Scotland. There will be some unpleasant facts which will have to faced, but these are insignificant when compared to the enormity of the injustice suffered in the name of Scottish Justice.
# Dundonian West 2012-02-28 13:00
"There is no question that this has been a stain on Scottish Justice. However there is one other Scottish institution that also finds itself in the dock of shame - the Scottish media. The behaviour of the BBC is a low point in the history of a proud institution."
Quote from above.

This is another 'twist' to news that is not permitted in the BBC Charter.Not a 'one off', now continuous mis-information on an almost daily basis to licence payers.

Misreprsentatio n is NOT in the Charter.It's behaving like a tabloid.

As I said yesterday on another matter,one of Lord Patten's Regional outlets is bringing a noble,worldwide BBC into disrepute.
2 friends in Australia.and 1 in South Africa,have written to me about this----and I don't have an answer!

Another one for Lord Patten's inbox?
# Islegard 2012-02-28 14:45
Still not one mention in credible news agencies such as Al Jazeera and France 24 of this story. It would appear this scoop and breaking new information only exists in the little world of the BBC.
# Dundonian West 2012-02-28 15:10
Quoting Islegard:
Still not one mention in credible news agencies such as Al Jazeera and France 24 of this story. It would appear this scoop and breaking new information only exists in the little world of the BBC.

I'm not in the least bit surprised.
If the BBC political journalists and general newsreaders wish to work for a tabloid outlet,where balance is of secondary importance,ther e are plenty out there.
# Islegard 2012-02-28 15:16
Also again for there to be a deal both parties have to gain from a deal. The only party that did gain from the situation is the Labour Party in government. They won lucrative contracts and Blair got paid trips to Libya and put up in top hotels. He got quite chummy with Gadaffi as a matter of fact. The Scottish Government didn't get anything and I can't imagine they were motivated to help Labour in London.

Actually if you want real pieces of journalism rather than the BBC. You could do far worse than view The Dispatches Special: The Wonderful World of Tony Blair. It highlights the millions Blair has made with the contacts he built up in the Middle East. Including Gadaffi and the oil contracts he made millions from in Iraq....
# oldnat 2012-02-28 15:17
Kenneth Roy has more of Aston's allegations

"In this special edition

• We produce compelling evidence linking the Scottish authorities with a massive payment to the chief prosecution witness, without whose evidence – now discredited – Megrahi would never have been convicted

• How a second massive payment was negotiated for a member of the witness's family, who, according to a secret police report, 'had a clear desire to gain financial benefit' from the case

• We show how the scale of the payments was actively discussed in Scotland and how it was hoped that the
Americans would agree to even more than the $3 million on the table"
# Islegard 2012-02-28 15:33
"We produce compelling evidence linking the Scottish authorities with a massive payment to the chief prosecution witness, without whose evidence – now discredited – Megrahi would never have been convicted."

That is quite an accusation! The Scottish authorities of the day would be Labour and the Lib Dems.
# Dundonian West 2012-02-28 15:46
Quoting Islegard:
"We produce compelling evidence linking the Scottish authorities with a massive payment to the chief prosecution witness, without whose evidence – now discredited – Megrahi would never have been convicted."

That is quite an accusation! The Scottish authorities of the day would be Labour and the Lib Dems.

That's exactly what I was thinking.
# Jester 2012-02-29 09:56
Quoting Islegard:
"We produce compelling evidence linking the Scottish authorities with a massive payment to the chief prosecution witness, without whose evidence – now discredited – Megrahi would never have been convicted."

That is quite an accusation! The Scottish authorities of the day would be Labour and the Lib Dems.

But being covered up by the SNP!
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-28 15:36
Interestingly but hardly surprising, posted comments in the Herald re McAskill and the resultant editorial have been removed and comments closed.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-28 15:46
Sorry! They have reappeared! Probably down to my renowned computer skills.
# Islegard 2012-02-28 16:06
"However compassionate release required no such dropping of the appeal and this was the eventual route by which Mr Megrahi obtained his return to Libya."

This line makes the whole story a non story.
# MAcandroid 2012-02-28 17:27
Absolutely correct
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-28 16:08
There are now three videos up in the ether covering the al Megrahi story.

1) This was aired by Aljazeera last year.

2) Every one's "favourite" EBC version last night.

3) The full length programme from Aljazeera from which the EBC "Cut and pasted" their version.

Prior to the full programme entering the "ether" Aljazeera did have this 2 minute snippet on their website yesterday.
# gus1940 2012-02-28 16:17
At 7am this morning had an article about Megrahi with their usual bias towards attacking The SNP which had already attracted about 150 comments.

The article along with its comments has been disappeared - General Dreedle would be pleased.
# Marga B 2012-02-28 16:28
Yes, Gus, I can confirm that. I believe it was there yesterday though. Today it's been removed.
# Diabloandco 2012-02-28 18:04
Anyone out there able to tell me how newspapers can boast a readership
" boost" as opposed to a sales "boost"and how they measure it?
I was particularly interested in the well under 40,000 figure for the Scotsman last month but now over 40,000 in " readership" -figures taken from allmedia.
# Dundonian West 2012-02-29 13:20
Quoting Diabloandco:
Anyone out there able to tell me how newspapers can boast a readership
" boost" as opposed to a sales "boost"and how they measure it?
I was particularly interested in the well under 40,000 figure for the Scotsman last month but now over 40,000 in " readership" -figures taken from allmedia.

# bigbuachaille 2012-02-28 20:02
Kenny Mac to make a statement tomorrow in Holyrood.
# Hirta 2012-02-28 21:31

[It's useful to other readers to give some explanation of what any link is about. NNS Mod Team]
# bigbuachaille 2012-02-29 13:18
Scottish Review on the media and Megrahi:
# Dundonian West 2012-02-29 13:59
Can't find Megrahi story on BBC National Home page.
So,it's Scotland only politicking.
Just as I thought.
If it had real substance it would be on their Main UK News Page.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-29 15:31
Thought it a terrific performance b y MacAskill.
Wondering what really motivates this guy Ashton. He seems prepossessed by damage to Scottish Independence prospects by association with Crown office of the Justice Sec. Methinks he doth protest too much.....!
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 15:43
Ashton is quite obviously motivated by desire to have this appalling miscarriage of justice corrected. He's been researching the subject for a couple of decades, and published a book on it in 2001, long before the SNP even had a sniff of government.

Like everyone interested in the Lockerbie affair, Ashton is frustrated and baffled by Megrahi's abandonment of his appeal, which circumstantiall y seems to have been done as some sort of quid pro quo for the compassionate release. I think it looks that way too, and I've been an SNP member for 20 years.

I don't think the possible impact (or lack of impact) on the independence referendum is likely to have crossed Ashton's mind. The book is huge, and about far more than the compassionate release - indeed, that's almost a throwaway. It's the media that has latched on to that aspect instead of going for the meat of the thing. The meat obviously being that the Crown Office and the police fitted up Megrahi back in 1991.
# Robert Louis 2012-02-29 18:00
Might I suggest you watch MacAskills statement and questions, before suggesting something untoward regarding the dropping of the appeal. Don't be misled by unionist nonsense.
# ds12 2012-02-29 15:35
What about McLetchie ,an upper class twit who seems to think he is still at school.He has taken over from Mike Rumbles as the badly behaved boy at the back of the class or should that be the front as he seems very keen to make himself heard.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-29 15:55
I bow to your superior knowledge!
I still think MacAskill did a spledid afternoons work. The offer of a possible appeal must have satisfied a few of his critics.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 16:00
Quoting Seagetagrip:
The offer of a possible appeal must have satisfied a few of his critics.

The WHAT????!!!
# Robert Louis 2012-02-29 18:01
Yip, he said he would welcome an appeal.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-29 16:09
I understood from what my little brain could absorb that MacAskill suggested at the end of his speech that even "a postumous" appeal MIGHT take place. By all means correct me if you must.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 16:14
No, no, I haven't heard the speech. I'm at work, and just posting in odd moments. I just wanted to know what he'd said.

A posthumous appeal has been much discussed in Lockerbie circles. Megrahi's family would have first refusal, but if they don't go for it then any other interested party might be allowed to file. It's hard to see how this could be refused with the SCCRC report just sitting there, and the huge suspicions that the second appeal was abandoned by a dying man who believed he had to do that in order to get home.

I believe relatives of victims would be considered "interested parties".
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-29 16:28
Hardly surprising as the previous offer of release via PTA had already asserted that condition and his family must have been well aware of this
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-29 16:34
Another thought occurs that if the Justice Secretary had an ulterior motive concerning release with the right of appeal removed, then surely he would have not opposed the PTA release which would have served the same purpose.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 16:56
It's fairly clear from the correspondence that MacAskill opposed the PTA because he believed the US relatives had been assured Megrahi would serve all his sentence in Scotland, and because he was averse to being pushed around by Jack Straw. So far so good. His behaviour over the compassionate release is just odd, with that weird sanctimonious speech about Megrahi dying a guilty man and so on, when everyone and his dog knows Megrahi had nothing to do with the atrocity.
# Robert Louis 2012-02-29 17:58
Your final point regarding MacAskill. Government ministers cannot ever question court judgements. That is why MacAskill cannot publicly disagree with the verdict.

Until such time as the legal process itself decides Megrahi is not guilty, MacAskill has no choice but to accept the court verdict.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 22:47
MacAskill and Salmond went a lot further than simply not disagreeing with a verdict. There's a furious correspondence somewhere with a barrister who was outraged by how far they went in the other direction, but all he got was stonewalling.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 16:34
Megrahi told Ashton he was well aware that he didn't have to withdraw the appeal in order to be granted compassionate release, but that when he heard what al-Obedi told him, he believed he coudln't take the risk of not withdrawing it.

Whether al-Obedi was telling the truth (that MacAskill had given him a big fat hint that withdrawing the appeal would facilitate his decision), or whether he was lying to Megrahi because Libya wanted Megrahi to withdraw the appeal, or whether he misunderstood what MacAskill said, I have no freaking idea.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 21:55
Having now seen the footage of MacAskill's performance in parliament, either that is both the most skilful and the most bare-faced example of lying to parliament the world has ever seen, or al-Obedi lied to Megrahi to induce him to abandon his appeal.

Well, well.
# Rafiki 2012-02-29 17:27
Every time I hear people going on about how long Megrahi had to live, I feel like pointing out that if Megrahi had remained in Greenock then it is very probable he would have died within three months, and then there would have been all sorts of recriminations. As it was, sending him back to Libya where he would be given the best treatment, no expense spared, lengthened his life span.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-02-29 17:38
And MacAskill even said as much at the time of the release. He pointed out that seriously ill prisoners in jail sometimes simply "turn their faces to the wall". He made it perfectly clear that the prognosis he was being given was the prognosis if Megrahi remained in jail.

It does seem as if Megrahi's family have been exaggerating the seriousness of his condition in terms of imminent death on a number of occasions over the past couple of years. I can hardly blame them, given the pressures they have been under. He looks very unwell in the most recent pictures, but he may linger on for a fair while yet if the extra chemotherapy was successful.

I feel bad about being conflicted about this, as there can't be another appeal while he's still alive, apparently. Nevertheless, he seems still to be at home, undisturbed, and still complying with the conditions of his release on licence, so we should hope he has some reasonable quality time left.
# Nautilus 2012-03-01 10:57
The body language given out by MacAskill as he swept past Glen Campbell in the lobby along with his curt answer is the most eloquent display of his views regarding BBC Scotland. Absolute disdain.

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